3 April 2012 – The Venice Biennale’s new Australian face will be a dark box of the utmost simplicity
Denton Corker Marshall has signalled a new view of Australian architecture with a geometric dark charcoal box in its winning design for the Australian pavilion for Venice’s Giardini della Biennale that will replace Philip Cox’s “temporary structure” built in 1988.
DCM director John Denton describes the design as “as object rather than a building,”a 320 square metre “white box contained within a black box” of the “”utmost simplicity.
“Free from affectation and obvious nationalistic statement, it is a powerful, confident yet discrete object within the heavily wooded gardens,” the firm said in a media statement.
Instead of a “mannered architectural ‘event’ on the artworks displayed within,” the design is for a “container on and in which ideas can be explored where the container in no way competes with those ideas.”
The exterior will be black granite from South Australia, the interior gallery walls standard white, and the floor polished concrete.
Mr Denton said the design “continues the firm’s interest in the small scale architecture of their series of country houses – such as View Hill and Phillip Island houses, which develop around themes of European intervention in the Australian landscape and architecture as land art.
“I believe it will be a building that will proudly represent Australia and be recognised as a powerful addition to the pavilions in the Giardini.”
The firm was one of six firms to enter the final stages of the competition, along with Sean Godsell Architects, John Wardle Architects, Bud Brannigan Architects, Peter Stutchbury Architecture and Johnson Pilton Walter.
James Strong, chair of the Australia Council, which organised the competition said “Denton Corker Marshall was considered the outstanding choice to undertake this significant project.”
DCM has also designed projects such as Melbourne Museum, ANZAC Hall – Australian War Memorial, Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Manchester Civil Justice Centre and Australian Embassies in Tokyo, Beijing and Jakarta.
Architectural critic Elizabeth Farrelly says in her Fairfax newspaper column that the building will symbolise Australia as “something more serious and more urban than Crocodile Dundee.”